I am off in a few days for another month in Kenya. I leave at a time of great optimism for the BOMA Project’s work. Donations in 2009 were up 146% from the previous year! We now have 12 trained Business Mentors who lead our skills training programs. Last month we launched 100 new businesses in 7 settled villages and 31 nomadic villages, providing critical skills and seed capital that will impact the lives of 500 adults and 2500 children in one of the most remote and neglected places on the African continent.

I invite you to journey with me as I travel through the villages and meet the women who are part of the Rural Entrepreneur Access Project. We will fall asleep to the sounds of the warriors singing and the hyena’s whoops. We will wake to the sounds of the cowbells and the women starting the fires for morning tea. During the day we will travel long distances to reach remote villages and hear accounts of business success and the respect and dignity that comes with self-determination. I want to share with you the inspiration of people who meet daily adversity with courage and grace.

I hope you are also inspired by your generosity in support of our work. Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times recently wrote about a family that sold their house and gave half the proceeds to charity. I am not suggesting that any of you sell your house, but I do know that the people who sustain BOMA’s work are those who give gifts of the heart. Our donors are people who want to “define themselves by what they give as well as by what they possess.” Each gift, no matter how small, is an extraordinary gesture of our humanity and connectedness to people who live on the other side of our world. The people are a part of us, and now they are a part of you.

You can follow me on Facebook at “Friends of the BOMA.”